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death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though
the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and
prolong his days, and the will of the LORD
will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul he will see the
light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant
willjustijy many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him
a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the
transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the
111 Isaiah 53.
The Gathering 377
9:15 a.m.  Lamax, Cyprus
The eighty-mile flight over the Mediterranean from the mainland of Turkey to
the island of Cyprus was farther than any of the birds had ever flown at a
single stint. Now, after resting the night, they continued their trek, leaving
the southeastern corner of the island. Had they understood that it would be
more than twice the first distance before they would see land again, they
might have turned back. But they did not understand, nor did they know their
destination or their purpose.
All they knew was that they must fly in this direction.
10:00 a.m.  Babylon
The time for discretion had passed. The warning from the sky to flee Babylon
had come two days before and no one knew how much longer they had to make good
their escape. Many had already been caught trying to leave. Still, the thought
of piling into the back of a produce truck and making a desperate attempt to
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go unnoticed past armed guards at one of the city gates seemed a pretty good
one compared to the alternative. And so they took the risk, leaving their
hiding places in broad daylight, coming to the meeting place, packing into the
back of the truck like sardines in a can or commuters on a subway car.
Among those hoping to get on the truck, Akbar Jahangir, his sister, and mother
struggled to stay together. At first it seemed impossible that there would be
enough room for them, they were so far back in the line, but soon all three
were on board.
"There's no more room," Joel Felsberg said, as he pulled shut the door on the
truck and locked it.
"Please, please," called several voices from among those still in line.
"I'm sorry," Ed Blocher answered. "If we make it out of the city alive, we'll
try to come back to get you."
"How will we know?" someone asked.
378 Acts of God
"Listen for gunshots," Felsberg answered as he looked at the truck's tires and
suspension and shook his head. If the guards were observant enough to notice,
they'd know right away the truck wasn't empty and they'd all be dead. "If we
make it out okay," Felsberg continued, "there won't be any gunshots. It will
take us about two hours to get back for another load . . . assuming, of
course, we can get back in." It was not the answer anyone wanted to hear, but
for now they could only pray and wait, and hope that they would not be
discovered as they made their way back to their hiding places.
The truck lurched forward and the weight of those inside shifted, pinning
Akbar and his little sister against the back door. The shift was only
temporary, and as everyone attempted to right themselves, compensating for the
movement, the truck turned a corner and the process was repeated, pinning
those who were on the wall opposite the turn beneath the crush of human cargo.
20God.txt (181 of 208) [12/24/2004 11:53:47 PM]
%20Clone%20Trilogy%20(3)/03%20-%20Acts%20of%20God.txt looked for something to
hold on to but except for a few tie ends on the side walls, there was nothing.
Those too young to understand what was happening inside the darkened vault
began crying, while those who realized that the noise could get them all
killed tried desperately to calm and quiet them.
As Joel Felsberg pulled the truck up to the checkpoint, he rolled down the
window to speak to the guard. "Manifest," the guard said in a one-word
Felsberg handed him the document with its forged signature, showing that the
produce they had brought in that morning had been delivered. The guard then
checked the manifest in his hand-held system to ensure that the produce had in
fact been delivered. Felsberg's computer hacking had included not only the
entry of his false manifest: he had also included a triggering mechanism that
would automatically create a record of the completed delivery one hour after
the initial security check indicated they had entered the city. Two hours
later, all records of the manifest would disappear from the system altogether.
The Gathering 379
So it was that the guard found everything in order. Nine out of ten times the
next step for the guard was to have the driver open the back of the truck to
show that it was empty. That is why no attempts had been made in the past to
smuggle people out of the city. Felsberg, Blocher, and everyone in the back of
the truck were praying this would be that one in ten times that the guards
would forego that requirement and let them go on their way.
"Okay," the guard said in a tone that said their prayers had been answered.
Joel Felsberg breathed a silent sigh. Ed Blocher could barely contain his [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]